Performance art? Amtrak stops for allegedly berzerk rider
The man whose alleged actions brought an Amtrak train to a halt in the Nelson County village of Shipman on the morning of June 9 will be spending nearly a week in jail.
Barrett Harrington Wolfe, a 22-year-old Atlanta photographer and self-described "propagandist," racked up five felony and three misdemeanor charges for allegedly assaulting a female passenger and conductor on the Crescent and then kicking two windows out of a county sheriff's department car and attempting a handcuffed escape.
Wolfe bit a deputy and scratched two more, according to Sheriff David Brooks.
"I don't know what his problem was," says Brooks. "He started to get agitated in Georgia. I don't know if it was drugs, but we got paraphernalia off him."
Nelson law enforcers say they had no idea what they were facing when the call came in about a problem on the New Orleans-to-New York passenger train, says Brooks.
"We thought it might be a medical," says Brooks.
It turns out that a female passenger reported getting shoved and knocked down, and the conductor suffered neck and back injuries that hospitalized him for several hours (and could raise the misdemeanor assault charge into a felony if the injuries prove severe), says Brooks.
"What you have is kind of like a hostage situation on the train," says the sheriff. "You can't get off."
Wolfe is a fine art/fantasy photographer. Although he once created a blog called "Wolfe attack" where he described his occupation as "propagandist," his Twitter account describes him as "an unconventional fine artist who lives for exploring innovative approaches to making rebellious, tasteful art."
The artist was taken but not admitted to the UVA Medical Center for cuts stemming from the police car windows. He was, however, admitted to Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail and held without bond.
In mountainous and thinly-populated Nelson, the General District Court meets just once a week, so Wolfe's first opportunity for bail won't happen until Wednesday, June 15.
There, after having spent six nights in jail, Wolfe will face three charges of felony assault on law enforcement (for the alleged biting and scratching), one felony property damage charge for the broken windows, one felony escape charge (he managed to wriggle through the broken-out window, says Brooks), one misdemeanor resisting charge, and two misdemeanor assault and battery charges.
"I'm not violent," Wolfe once said on this Twitter account. "I am intensely passionate."